Camas dancers razzle, dazzle to state

Contributed photos The Camas High School dance team qualified for the state competition Friday and Saturday, at the Yakima Sun Dome. Their hip-hop routine pays homage to the movie “Happy Feet.”

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The Papermakers are also going to perform their jazz routine at state. Head coach Ranae Scott describes it as darker and more complex. “The girls are moving with different parts of the music and layering it together,” she said. “It’s very effective.”

With a razzling hip-hop routine and a dazzling jazz display, the Camas High School dancers are on their way to the 4A state dance and drill championships Friday and Saturday, at the Yakima Sun Dome.

Head coach Ranae Scott is thrilled that the Papermakers earned this opportunity in just their first dancing season in the largest classification in the state. Most of the 4A teams have more members coming up through middle school programs every year. Camas doesn’t have that luxury. When new girls join the team each year, they are starting from scratch.

“These girls have come a long way from not dancing to doing break dancing, headstands and building very technical routines,” Scott said. “Some of the strongest dancers we have on the team have never danced before this year. They have a lot of natural talent, and we’re harnessing that talent and taking it to the next level.”

The Papermakers have to change up their routines every meet in order to stay competitive. Heading up that creative process are captains Rachel Stanger, Jocelyn Muri, Christina McCoy and Charis Holscher.

“I like how dancing is expressive. You get to show your personality through what you do,” Muri said. “I also enjoy meeting new girls and building friendships that will last a lifetime. It’s cool to be a part of something not everybody else can be a part of.”

“I really like the performance end of it,” Stanger added. “It’s very dramatic and creative.”

The Camas dancers put it all together at the district meet March 9. Scott said the girls increased their level of difficulty in each routine and that captured the attention of the judges. McCoy and Holscher also qualified for state in the drill down competition, to go along with the two team performances.

“It’s definitely exciting for me as a coach to see them improve with every competition,” Scott said. “And that they take what the judges say and what I say to heart. It shows that they really care.”

The Papermakers are adding a few more twists, turns and tricks to their routines in order to impress the judges as state. Scott wants to see them leave nothing to chance.

“This will be a one-of-a-kind experience for them to be able to perform in front of hundreds of people,” she said. “I just want them to have a blast with it, and be inspired by all the other dancers they see there.”

This will be the last dance for Muri and Stanger after four years on the high school team together. They don’t want to have any regrets.

“To be able to go to state and have that experience is going to be enough for all of us,” Muri said. “It’s going to be tough not to be on this dance team anymore, but the memories we have created will last forever.”

“I just want the girls to feel like they performed the best that they could at state, and that they only want to improve next year,” Stanger added.